Staff shortages affecting council works

The moratorium on replacing Council staff is seriously affecting delivery of programmes, members of the Donegal Electoral Area Committee were told at their monthly meeting last Thursday.

The moratorium on replacing Council staff is seriously affecting delivery of programmes, members of the Donegal Electoral Area Committee were told at their monthly meeting last Thursday.

Paul Lyons, Area Manager for Water, Environment and Emergency Services said: “Staff to do jobs are rapidly becoming non-existent. We expect four more retirements before the end of the year. We’re down to 16 out of 40 staff and we’re down from three office personnel to one part-time person.”

Peadar Thomas, Area Manager for Roads and Transportations said he was “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. He added: “It means that some work that would normally would be done is not being done. If we could have got approval to take on seasonal men it would have made a big difference. If we can work to try to bring seasonal men on next April/May, that’s the time we would really need them.”

Cllr. John Boyle asked whether there would be any chance of otaining a derogation from the moratorium to allow someone take up Thomas Pringle’s old post in the Killybegs Water Plant. Mr Lyons said that the council have already lodged such an application with the department.

Cllr. Mick McMahon suggested starting a campaign to take people off the register to do some of this work. “We’re expecting the council to get all the work done when they’ve far less people than they had two years ago. Otherwise, we’ll be back here next year asking the same questions.”

Cllr. Brendan Byrne said Glencolumbkille Parish Council had asked that two missing lifebuoys, at Dooey Bay and Silver Strand, be replaced. He had made enquiries by email about this but had not received a reply in two months. “It’s scandalous behaviour, no organisation can be governed in that fashion. Mr Lyons said that the post for the person who normally has responsibility for such matters is currently vacant but promised to follow up.

Cllr. Barry O’Neill commented. “It’s the same in the VEC, the HSE and the rest of the civil service. Key staff should be replaced under derogation.”

Members were told that said 30 students had been employed for the summer – 12 in administration, 6 in community enterprise and the rest are engineers – and it was hoped to have 100 people employed under the WP scheme.